Friday, August 18, 2017

Review - Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle @moirawithatrema

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Date Read: August 12, 2017
Length:  368 pages
Source: First to Read
If you’re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.

One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.

Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.

When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.

My Review

I really liked this story.  I read most of the book in a single day and captivated by it.   I decided to read this book because I was intrigued by the blurb and I am really glad that I did.  This was one of those books that made me want to keep reading "just one more chapter" until I had reached the end.

This book is told from multiple points of view and it works very well for this story.  Every point of view in this book really added something to the add to the overall story.  I really liked each of the points of view equally which was a big plus for this book.  I feel like Olive's point of view was the dominant one in the book that really pushed the story forward.  Laurel and Hazel's points of view were equally important and usually gave me something to think about.

I enjoyed the way the book was laid out.  Some things were lost and some things were found.  How did all of this happen and what does it really mean?  How do you get back the things you have lost that are important to you?  I found myself really thinking about these questions as the characters made their way through this story.  I wasn't sure how things would end up connecting and ran into a few surprises during the story.

I liked the writing.  This was my first experience reading Moïra Fowley-Doyle's work and I am quite impressed.  She was able to create a large cast of characters in this book that really came to life.  There was just enough unknown to keep me guessing throughout the story.  The descriptions were vibrant and I could really visualize what was happening at any given point.

I would recommend this book to others.  I think it is a unique story filled with an interesting group of characters.  I plan to read more from this talented author in the future.

I received an advanced reader edition of this book from Kathy Dawson Books via First to Read.
About the Author

Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half French, half Irish, and lives in Dublin with her husband, their young daughters, and their old cat. Moïra’s French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings. Moïra started a PhD on vampires in young adult fiction before concentrating on writing young adult fiction with no vampires in it whatsoever. Moïra’s debut novel, The Accident Season, was published to high praise in August 2015.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Audiobook Review - Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor @Claudia__Connor @TantorAudio

Worth the Fall by Claudia Conner
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Series: The McKinney Brothers #1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Date Read: August 8, 2017
Length: 9 hours 40 minutes
Source: Library via Hoopla

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book!  I read the other 2 books in this series when they were released and decided that it was finally time to go back and read the first book.  I am always looking for something a little different to read and this one definitely met that definition.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a romance where the heroine is pregnant with 4 kids.  This book not only worked, it worked well.  I was really hooked by Matt and Abby's story and wanted to listen to it for hours at a time.  I am so glad that I decided to pick this one up.

Abby has taken her 4 young children to the beach for a vacation.  Her husband recently died so it is just her and the kids.  Abby is pregnant with her 5th child so she wants to fit one more trip before it becomes harder with a new baby.  Matt is a Navy SEAL who is taking a much needed break at the beach.  When Abby's son asks Matt to play ball with him, he can't say no.  He finds himself wanting to spend more and more time with Abby and her family.

I loved the characters in this book.  I have to say that I don't tend to pick up a lot of books with kids playing a large role.  I like kids and even have had a couple myself but I don't always like to read about them.  These kids were amazing.  They were all really great characters that added something to the story.  Matt was such a great guy.  I loved how he was with both Abby and the kids.  It seemed so natural from the very beginning, like he was meant to be with them.  Abby was such a great mom and very independent.  I liked watching her learn to trust Matt and let him into her life.

Johanna Parker does a wonderful job with the narration in this book.  I have listened to her narration before and knew that I really liked her style.  She handled all of the different characters in this book so well.  She had realistic voices that she used for each character including the young children.  She was able to put a lot of emotion into the reading and her voice was very pleasant to listen to for hours at a time.

The only thing that didn't seem realistic about this story was how well behaved Abby's children were at all times.  As a mom, I kind of wanted to see one of these kids have the meltdown you know would happen at some point.  Anyone who has taken young children on vacation knows there is going to be tears, screaming, and most bodily fluids will most likely be involved.  Of course, the absence of these things may be the reason that I liked these kids as much as I did.

I would recommend this audiobook to others.  It was a really fun and romantic story that was really a joy to listen to.  I plan to read more of Claudia Connor's work in the future.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Claudia Connor attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and spending her days putting on paper the stories in her head. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - The Girl in the Tower

 Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My Waiting on Wednesday pick is:

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Series: The Bear and the Nightingale #2
Publisher: Del Ray
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

Pre-Order:  Amazon | BAM! | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo 

Why Am I Waiting?
I really enjoyed the The Bear and the Nightingale (my review) so I am really curious to learn what will happen in the second installment in this planned trilogy.  I loved the fairytale quality of the first book and the Russian setting really made it stand out so I am looking forward to something new in the same style.

What are you waiting for this week? 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Releases - August 15, 2017 #newreleases #newbooks

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers nonstop suspense and supercharged sexual tension in a thriller about tainted heroism and vengeance without mercy.

Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major--even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra's hints that there's more to the story rouse Trapper's interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry--with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra--Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he's going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.

Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence from his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy--and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Find it at:

Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues―ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.


Rituals by Kelley Armstrong

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
The fifth book and the exciting conclusion to bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's "impossible-to-put-down" Cainsville series, in which she mixes hard-hitting crime writing with phenomenal world-building to create a brand of fiction all her own.

Olivia Jones must make a choice. Caught between two rival supernatural forces, Liv was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out. Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.And now there is a new, terrifying power rising - one that doesn't distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive. In this gripping thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding climax.

Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to call him hers.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

What new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review - Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros @AdenPolydoros @EntangledTeen

Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros
Series: Assassin Fall #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Date Read: August 11, 2017
Length:  372 pages
Source: Publisher
Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass..

My Review

I liked this book.  I decided to read this book because I really liked the premise of the story.  While there were parts of the book that were really exciting, this was never a book that was hard for me to put down.  I did want to see how everything would work out but I just didn't feel a rush to get there.  In the end I thought that it was a pretty good story.

There were some things that I really liked about this book.  I thought that the overall concept was very exciting.  Teenage assassins?  Yes, please!  The backstory about how this organization started and how everything worked were some of my favorite parts of the book along with some of the sections of the book when the agents were on the job.  I liked those parts of the book enough that I really wish that there had been more of them.  I thought that the action scenes in the book were very exciting and really enjoyed all of them.

There were also some things about the book that I didn't like quite as much.  I think that there were probably too many points of view in this book.  Some of the points of view were really quite similar.  I don't think that having four different points of view helped this book at all.  I really preferred the parts of the story that gave us Hades point of view a lot more than any of the others.  I think that it really slowed the book down to have so many different points of view.  I had a few other issues with motivation and coincidences.

I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks the concept sounds interesting.  This was an exciting story with quite a few interesting twists.  I am a bit on the fence on whether I will continue this series or not at this point but I am definitely open to reading more of Aden Polydoros work in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Entangled Teen.
About the Author

Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, and now lives in Arizona. He is a writer of young adult fiction. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading and going on hikes in the mountains. Aden Polydoros is 2015 Gold Medalist in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has published two short stories in Best Arizona Teen Writing of 2015.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stacking the Shelves #82

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality

Another busy week around here!  My daughter started school on Thursday which seem way too early in the year to me.  Her jazz group gave us tickets to see Herbie Hancock in concert that same night.   My husband was also out of town for part of the week which also threw off our normal routine.  I a hoping for a calm weekend.

Another week of no review books!

Digital Books
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Kindle Purchase)

I already have the audio of this book which I started listening to this week.  I realized after 3 1/2 hours of listening that I was having trouble following all the aspects of the story.  I love the sound effects and the narration of the audio but I think this is a book that I need to read before trying to listen to it. 

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review - Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner @RosanneBittner @SourcebooksCasa

Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner
Series: Outlaw Hearts #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Date Read: August 5, 2017
Length:  576 pages
Source: Purchased
At twenty, Miranda Hayes has been widowed by the Civil War and orphaned by a vicious band of rebel raiders. Alone on the harsh, unyielding frontier, Miranda is surprised to run into the notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner, a hard-hearted loner with a price on his head. Suddenly Miranda finds within herself a deep well of courage…and powerful feelings of desire she's never known.

Hunted by lawmen and haunted by his brutal past, Jake has spent a lifetime on the dusty trail and on the run…until he meets a vibrant, honey-haired beauty who is determined to change his violent ways. But does she love him enough to risk her life to be his woman—an outlaw's woman?
My Review

I really enjoyed this epic story!  When I started reading this book, I really didn't expect the story to be quite as big as it turned out to be.  This book doesn't cover just a year or two of Jake and Miranda's life.  No, this is a book that covers decades and by the time it is over you want to spend more time with them.  Since this is the first book in the series, that works out well for me.

This story is about Jake and Miranda.  Jake is an outlaw and is wanted by the authorities.  He actually has quite a sizable price on his head.  Miranda became a widow at a young age when her new husband was killed during the Civil War.  Miranda's father is killed by a group of outlaws just before the story begins.  An unexpected string of events puts this pair together and they realize that they actually enjoy each other's company.

The scope of this story is amazing.  It starts out in Kansas but then goes all the way to California and back during a period in time when this area could be quite dangerous and rather wild.  I really enjoyed all of the descriptions of the travels and settling in these different areas throughout the story.  There is something about the old west that I find really interesting.  The conditions were harsh at times and there seemed to be danger everywhere you looked.

I really liked that we get to see so much of Jake and Miranda's life in this story.  Learning Jake's backstory really helps in understanding how his life unfolded in the way it has.  I really enjoyed watching them meet and get to know each other.  I enjoyed watching their relationship grow over time.  Jake never seem to believe that he deserves Miranda but she refuses to give up on him.  She proves that she wants nothing more than to be with him at any cost several times during the course of this story.

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys an epic romance.  I started the book out liking Jake and Miranda but by the time it was over I had fallen completely in love with them.  I can't wait to read more of this amazing series!

The Series - Outlaw Hearts
Book #1 - Outlaw Hearts
Book #2 - Do Not Forsake Me
Book #3 - Love's Sweet Revenge
Book #4 - The Last Outlaw
About the Author

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is known as the "Queen of Western Historical Romance" for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West-and are often based on Rosanne's personal visits to each setting. She lives in Coloma, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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